COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 13th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team knocked off 22nd-ranked Florida, 4-2, on a beautiful Friday evening at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in front of 318 fans. The Aggies improved to 10-4 on the season and 1-0 in SEC action while the Gators fall to 5-5 and 0-1 in conference play. A&M owned a 5-2 edge over the seven-tiebreakers in the contest, helping secure the victory.
“It was huge to come out on top of so many tiebreaker points tonight,” A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “Our guys know that they have to play big in the big matches and in the big moments. Florida is a really good team and they are even better outdoors than they are indoors. They came out strong tonight and really tested our guys from top to bottom. This was a really good college tennis match against a quality opponent, knowing we were going back to the traditional rules we had to be fit mentally and physically because we know that is how matches can go.”
The Maroon and White claimed the doubles point by outlasting the Gators in tiebreakers on courts one and two. A&M’s top-ranked duo of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow downed the No. 26 pair of Michael Alford and Stephane Piro, 8-7 (2). The team of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant rallied back from a 5-2 deficit in the tiebreaker against the No. 9 tandem of Gordon Watson and Elliot Orkin, en-route to a 8-7 (9) victory at the No. 2 line to secure the doubles point for the Aggies. A&M’s Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo pushed UF’s Diego Hidalgo and Spencer Newman to a tiebreaker before the doubles point was decided.
“I knew this would be a physical test for our team and our guys fought hard to come out on top in doubles,” Denton said. “The doubles point turned out to be a pivotal point for us tonight and although singles did not start well afterwards we knew how important the doubles point could end up being.
Florida evened the match at one when Florent Diep outlasted Ore 6-3, 7-6 (0) at the No. 4 line. Vinsant, the No. 26 player nationally, featured the only match of the evening that did not go into a tiebreaker as he defeated Watson in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to regain the lead for A&M.
Despite being the only Aggie to claim a victory in the first set, Withrow was unable to build off the momentum, falling to Maxx Lipman, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1 at No. 5 to knot the match at two.
Adams, playing the No. 1 line and ranked 11th in the polls, overcame a sluggish start to post the 6-7 (3), 6-0, 6-2 over 65th-ranked Newman to put the Aggies a point away from victory.
Jeremy Efferding secured the win for the Maroon and White by also rallying from a first set deficit. The 38th-ranked junior clipped Hidalgo, 2-6, 7-6 (0), 6-3 to give A&M the 4-2 match win.
Texas A&M remains in action again tomorrow at the Mitchell Center when it welcomes South Carolina to College Station at 6 p.m. The Gamecocks enter the contest riding a two-match winning streak after defeating South Florida 6-1 and coming back against San Diego 4-3. No. 55 Tsvetan Mihov is coming off a quality win over then-78th ranked Clarke Spinosa while Andrew Adams (No. 112) also appears in the ITA singles rankings. In doubles, the tandem of Chip Cox and Kyle Koch enters the match at No. 34 in the doubles rankings, with wins over two top-50 pairings in their last two matchups.
“Starting 1-0 in SEC play is kind of like holding serve in a match,” Denton said on tomorrow’s matchup with South Carolina. “We have to come out prepared against another quality opponent in South Carolina. Night in night out in the SEC is going to be a test, but that is why these guys came to Texas A&M. They want to play in matches like tonight and play against quality competition.”
To learn more about the men’s tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 13 Texas A&M def. No. 22 Florida 4-2
Texas A&M (10-4, 1-0 SEC); Florida (5-5, 0-1 SEC)
No. 1 – No. 11 Harrison Adams, A&M def. No. 65 Spencer Newman, UF 6-7 (3), 6-0, 6-2
No. 2 – No. 26 Shane Vinsant, A&M def. Gordon Watson, UF 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
No. 3 – No. 38 Jeremy Efferding, A&M def. Diego Hidalgo, UF 2-6, 7-6 (0), 6-3
No. 4 – Florent Diep, UF def. Junior Ore, A&M 6-2, 7-6 (0)
No. 5 – Maxx Lipman, UF def. Jackson Withrow, A&M 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1
No. 6 – Jordan Szabo, A&M vs. No. 62 Elliot Orkin, UF 3-6, 7-6 (5), 3-3 (unfinished)
Doubles (Texas A&M wins the point)
No. 1 – No. 1 Ore/Withrow, A&M def. No. 26 Alford/Piro, UF 8-7 (2)
No. 2 – Adams/Vinsant, A&M def. No. 9 Watson/Orkin, UF 8-7 (9)
No. 3 – No. 37 Efferding/Szabo, A&M vs. Hidalgo/Newman, UF 7-7 (5-1) (unfinished)
Order of finish: Doubles 1, 2; Singles 4, 2, 5, 1, 3
*clinched the match